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3 Best places to trek to see wild gorillas

  • Multiple countries

Last updated: 25 June, 2024

Surely no wildlife experience rivals an encounter with these magnificent, mesmerising and fascinatingly human-like beasts. Trek up rainforest-covered volcanoes for an unforgettable few hours watching them feed, play and strut. Africa adventure travel expert Sue Watt recommends the best places to do it.

Table of Contents
  • Odzala Kokoua National Park, Cuvette-Ouest, Congo, Republic of the

Close up of a male silverback

Bucket List Experience

The Congo [lowland gorillas]

Although less feted than their larger, mountain gorilla cousins, western lowland gorillas are just as captivating. Tracking them in the rarely visited rainforests of Congo is the ultimate wilderness adventure; armed with just a guide, tracker and four visitors in each expedition, it’s an intimate, blissfully exclusive experience.

It’s not for the fainthearted, however – gorillas love the dense Marantaceae forests that make this tracking challenging. Although all on low ground, it can take up to 4 hours to find them. The reward is a never-to-be-forgotten encounter with a magnificent silverback.

Adult price: £1000

Min age 16

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 4+ days

  • Volcanoes National Park , Northern Province, Rwanda

Close up of a large male silverback, crossing his arms

Bucket List Experience

Rwanda [mountain gorillas]

There is nothing quite like seeing rare mountain gorillas in the wild – humbling, thrilling, unforgettable – the superlatives are endless. Look into the eyes of these beautiful, intelligent beasts, watch the youngsters play like little children, their mothers nurturing them and their father languidly lounging around: your hour with them will seem like a second.

Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, with open meadows, volcanoes and bamboo forests offers the world’s best, but most expensive, mountain gorilla experience. Several high-end luxury lodges have opened in recent years.

Adult price: £1,000

Min age 15

Good for age: 15+

Duration: 3-8 hours

  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Western Region, Uganda

Large gorillas relaxing at the base of a tree on a forested hillside

Bucket List Experience

Uganda [mountain gorillas]

No wildlife experience rivals a rainforest encounter with mountain gorillas. Depending on your choice of trek, you’re allowed between 1-4 hours with these gentle giants once you find them: it’s an experience you’ll never forget, mesmerized by their stature and strength, their playfulness and posing, and by their distinctly ‘human’ characters.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to half the world’s mountain gorillas, permits here aren’t cheap but they’re worth it, contributing towards the conservation of these rare and majestic creatures.

Adult price: £500

Min age 15

Good for age: 15+

Duration: 3-8 hours